Health

Wheelchair-bound athlete honoured for climbing mountain

Mr Lai Chi Wai, a professional rock climber from Hong Kong, was left unable to walk after a car accident seven years ago, but it did not stop him climbing a mountain roughly the height of New York's Empire State Building.

The 35-year-old, who is paralysed from the hip down, recently became the first Chinese athlete to be nominated for the Laureus World's Best Sporting Moment of the month after he successfully scaled Lion Rock - a 495m-tall mountain which symbolises the "Hong Kong spirit" of persistence, resilience and unity.

The Laureus World Sports Award honours the best sportsmen and sportswomen of the year, as well as sporting moments of the month.

Lai lost the December award to a viral video which showed a packed sports stadium of 70,000 people in Iowa turning and waving to children in an adjacent hospital. But he said he was surprised he was nominated to begin with, and hoped his story could inspire Chinese people and athletes with disabilities.

"To me, climbing to the top was accomplishing a dream of mine," Lai said. "It also meant that I could show to my friends and supporters that I have overcome one of the lowest points in life."

The four-time champion of the Asian Rock Climbing Championships and the world's first Chinese winner of the X-Games' extreme sports climbed Lion Rock on Dec 9, 2016, the fifth anniversary of his accident. 
- REUTERS

MEDICAL & HEALTH